We have all heard it before but it is still heartbreaking to hear it again – the death of a baby/child due to heatstroke after being locked in a vehicle.
The latest heartbreaking is quite far away in California, involving an 11-month old boy who was left in the car for over an hour with the windows up; this is California’s first child heatstroke-related car death this year. Last month, we unfortunately had a similar incident in Johor where a 1-year old girl was left in the car for 5 hours. And you know Malaysian heat isn’t child’s play.
While these deaths may be unintentional, it still warrants serious attention and responsibility from adults to prevent such occurrences. One should NEVER leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows slightly opened or the air-conditioning running, so that you can go to the ATM, buy lunch, etc. Firstly, the window gap may be insufficient for proper airflow. Secondly, there’s no guarantee the car’s engine or air-conditioning will continuing running after you have left the car. And then of course, there’s the matter of the child’s safety.
If you want to know what a child in this situation experiences, locking yourself in the car for 10 minutes with nothing running should give you an idea. Now imagine going through that for 60 minutes or maybe longer. So for those with young children, who might be cheeky enough to sneak into the car without your knowledge, it pays to always check your car before you drive off or after parking.
“A” is to Avoid these situations in the first place i.e. never ever leave a child in a vehicle alone.
“C” is for Creating reminders such as placing your laptop bag etc. next to your child so that you will notice and remember your child in the back seat once you reach your destination.
“T” stands for Take action i.e. if you pass by a parked car with a lone child, take action to locate the driver or call the authorities. If the child doesn’t seem to be responding, take action by breaking the window.
But for this, it is always advisable to record yourself doing it and stating why you are taking such actions.
If you ever have to rescue a child in such a situation, bring the child to a cool/shaded area or douse them with cool water to bring down his/her body temperature.
Remember that it is NOT advisable to pour fluids into the mouth of an unconscious child.